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KUSA - To Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Gatins of the drama "Flight," the film is more than a story, but a reflection of his personal struggles.

In the film, Denzel Washington stars as an airline pilot who battles with drug addiction - an obstacle Gatins says he had to overcome.

"I got sober when I was 25, and then, I started writing this film. I was 31, so that shift in my life was still very much thankfully and gratefully in the front of my mind," Gatins said. "So it definitely colored the way in which I wrote the story, and why the story was so personal and important for me."

In "Flight," Washington's character emergency lands a commercial plane, while under the influence. Gatins says it was important for the crash scene in the movie to feel realistic to the audience and create internal conflict within the viewers.

"I thought if you can see this harrowing experience that he went through and actually witness this heroic and amazing piece of flying that he pulls off that it might help you forgive some of [his actions]," Gatins said. "[I wanted to] create this gray area of, 'Am I rooting for this guy? Do I feel he's earned this pass? Or do I just need to condemn this guy because I don't believe in the choices that he makes in his life?'"

Before working as a screenwriter, Gatins acted in "Leprechaun 3" and "Pumpkinhead II." Gatins then began to fine tune his screen-writing chops with scripts such as "Hard Ball," "Coach Carter" and "Real Steel." The journey with "Flight" to his Oscar nomination, Gatins says, continues to amaze him.

"This movie has not stopped surprising me, since the year 1999 when I first started writing it," Gatins said.

Rose Heaphy contributed to this article.